We the undersigned oppose the sale of the Brixton Centre, Lambeth College to property developers.
This petition had 782 supporters
We are both surprised and saddened to hear that proposals have been put forward to sell off the Brixton Centre of Lambeth College to residential property developers. We feel that this is a bad decision and we oppose it for a number of reasons.
Brixton College has provided quality education in one of the most disadvantaged areas of the country for decades. As an institution in the heart of the community we feel that the current management of the College have no right to reduce local peoples' access to education.
The College provides opportunities for some of the most disadvantaged members of our community: immigrants in need of English skills; people with learning difficulties and disabilities who are already disproportionately affected by the cuts; unemployed adults who use the college to improve their literacy skills and move out of the depressing cycle of benefits; young people with increasingly uncertain futures use the Prince's Trust Team Programme to break through barriers and re-engage with education.
More recently we have witnessed a reduction in Adult Community Learning courses that add to the richness and diversity of our community. We feel that the plan has not considered the effect that it will have on the wider community and residents' abilities to access education locally. Disabled learners will have to travel further and young people will no longer have the security of a College in their local area.
More worryingly, the proposed sell off represents a further transference of public resources into private hands. Housing is a priority in Lambeth, yet the land freed from the sale will not be going to social housing, not if the purpose of the college is to make money from the sale. We see this attempt to sell our college to residential property developers as a further transference of wealth from the community to the private sector.
The college management say the sale will allow Lambeth College to maintain a smaller college site in Brixton and will also stabilise the financial situation of the college. Yet this has been the argument put forward time and time again as site after site owned by Lambeth College, and other public education institutions, have been sold off to property developers. This strategy will not secure further education for the local community as the government will only continue to cut funding.
Despite the reduction of services in Brixton, we are witnessing a multi-million pound investment in the Clapham centre of Lambeth College, which is run by the same management. This follows on from a previous development of a new 6th form centre at the Clapham site. With both of these developments the college has borrowed money to fund them thus putting the college in a position where it is in debt and paying interest to the banks.
Yet there has been no consultation on these changes with the staff or the local community. The college is the lifeblood of the community but despite this local residents have been entirely left out of the process. We urge the college to seek alternative measures. Our college has been at the heart of our community for decades. We strongly believe any sale is a short term view that will affect our community permanently.
We, the signatories of this letter, are opposed to the reduction of provision at Brixton College and call upon the management and governors of the college to urgently consider an alternative strategy.
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